How can the GOP make a case against The One?....
Unemployment. Start with the facts behind the marquee 8.3% unemployment number for January. The more relevant employment metric is the labor force participation rate, now at a 30-year low of 63.7%. Were the LFPR at the 66 percent it was when "O" assumed the Presidential mantle, unemployment would still be around 11 percent. Statistical adjustments by the Bureau of Labor Statistics revived the LFPR down by 1.2 million workers; these are not counted in the marquee unemployment number. Rick Santelli of CNBC (whose 2009 online rant sparked the spontaneous grassroots Tea Party movement) explains in more detail (1:38) why the LFPR is the number that matters most, albeit there were 243,000 net new jobs created, a good number. The economy is indeed growing modestly, but more workers are sitting on the sidelines permanently. Financial maven John Mauldin explains (no link--subscribe only) that there are still 7 million fewer folks working than in 2007. Peter Wehner at CB adds more context showing how weak the economy remains. The WSJ editors see a brighter picture.
AEI economics maven James Pethokoukis offers five charts President Obama will not like, from the Congressional Budget Office. They show huge deficits, exploding public debt, anemic growth, protracted high unemployment & runaway spending, all for as far as the eye can see. Peggy Noonan thinks Obama may have lost the November election last week, with his administration's ruling that Catholic charities, hospitals & schools provide services abhorrent to their core religious values. Catholics are being told, she writes, that they cannot be Catholic anymore.
Obama carried Catholics 54-45 in 2008; they were, at 35 million voters, 27 percent of the 2008 voting electorate. This ruling has already enraged Catholics across the country. Recent polling also shows a drop in Jewish support, though less than ten points; this could prove important in Florida, a swing state & fourth largest in the nation.
Underclass. George Will offers the perfect column for how to help people trapped in a cycle of poverty & crime. In a nutshell, it is NOT by government programs, whose inevitably bureaucratic character precludes case-by-case calibration of services. Instead, it is what Edmund Burke famously called "little platoons"--private charities that offer quasi-familial help to create structure & meaning in blighted lives.
Upper Class. Charles Murray, a top AEI scholar, explains why today's upper class differs from that of earlier generations. It augurs ill for the GOP, as there is now a genuine social separation that is engendering inter-class antagonism of a kind not associated with the US.
Global Economy. Robert Samuelson notes three tectonic shifts in the global economy, courtesy of international economist C. Fred Bergsten, a noted authority: (1) China, India & Brazil now make up more than half the world economy; (2) the US, once the largest creditor nation, is now the world's largest debtor; (3) financial crises in a global economy are deeper and last longer. These problems are exacerbated, notes Bergsten, because export-oriented countries seek narrow advantage, at the expense of the common good. The US was half the world economy after World War II; now, at some 20 percent of same, it no longer is the prime driver of global economic growth.
Holder's Racial/Immigrant Remark. A-G Eric Holder said to a Republican House member when testifying last week, referring to place of birth as "Idaho or wherever you're from"; Rep. Raul Labrador (ID) is of Puerto Rican ancestry. Such a remark could instantly end the career of any Republican Cabinet member, but Holder will get the usual pass for liberal media.
"The Vision Thing": 2012 Edition. Walter Russell Mead's Via Media blog presents Mead's vision for America's future. He sees America in transition, with the major issue being the conflict between the GOP and Democratic visions: the GOP would devolve many federal functions to state & local levels, and from public to private groups; the Democrats would continue to centralize, even grow, power in Washington, D.C. The battle over public schools exemplifies the struggle: school administrators, teachers' unions & government bureaucrats are arrayed against parents & students; the abiding liberal faith in the wisdom and capability of the administrative state is personified by Barack Obama; the GOP nominee must present a compelling counter vision to win come November.
Meanwhile, Obama's Gallup's Electoral College map is much grimmer than felicitous 2008.
Bottom Line. Obama's numbers remain mostly awful. But he may escape voter accountability if future bad consequences of his domestic & foreign policies mostly emerge after the fall election, and if media allies manage to conceal same from the part of the electorate that relies on such outlets for their news.
Letter from the Capitol, LFTC, Conservative Politics